A report issued this week by IHS Automotive has cast a very upbeat light upon the electric vehicle market and in particular the development of charging station networks around the world. The study suggests that by 2020 there could be around 10.7 million charging stations across the globe, which is a 10 fold increase on the current number.
While this figure does seem to be enormous compared to the number of charging stations available today, there is evidence of growing acceptance and demand for electric vehicles. This will ultimately feed into substantially more charging stations with new networks expected to pop up in many countries around the world.
Can this be true?
Forecasting anything to do with electric vehicle market has always been very difficult, and very dangerous. The situation is no different today but the fact that the estimate of over 10 million charging stations by 2020 is actually significantly less than forecasts made at the height of the electric car boom in 2009 puts everything into perspective.
This very encouraging research note also highlighted a number of countries which are making great progress in the electric vehicle market, specifically because they have domestic automotive companies very keen to enter this sector. The countries highlighted include the United States, China, Japan and Germany, all of which have a strong relationship with the automotive industry and hold enormous power in the sector.
Commercial charging stations
While very often we look at domestic charging stations and the ability to plug your electric car and your hybrid vehicle into your main supply, we will see the development of commercial charging station networks in the years to come. Indeed the U.S. government believes that the commercial charging station sector could be worth in excess of $1 billion a year by 2020, which is significant by any standard.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Despite the fact that many people are still sceptical of the electric vehicle market, Nissan has this week announced plans to triple the number of charging points across America. This is a significant commitment by one of the largest car manufacturers in the world and should instil some confidence into this particular market."
Here we have the holy grail of increased consumer demand for electric vehicles and the ability for commercial charging stations to make an acceptable return on investment – this will be the incentive needed to roll out more stations across the world. Ultimately, each commercial charging station in the future will attract income which will fund the next charging station, then next charging station, and continue to build up a cumulative momentum going forward.
Reducing consumer concerns
As we have mentioned time and time again, many consumers have been put off acquiring electric vehicles simply because there are no visible charging stations in their neighbourhood. The fact that many neighbourhoods may already have charging stations which are not necessarily easily recognised by the public is another part of the problem. However, if commercial charging network companies make their stations more visible, publicise them more in the local press, and join the dots between cities, towns and villages, we have the makings of a significant shift in public sentiment.
When you add up all of the potential improvements over the next decade, it is difficult to see why the electric vehicle sector should not be successful? Then again, we have been here on numerous occasions in the past only for the sector to crash and burn, quite literally!